Friendship And Growing Old.

The following beautiful note was sent to me as a ‘forward’ by a classmate of mine, who I have not met for over forty two years. We are however in touch by group mail.

I surmise that this piece of writing is a letter in reply to some question about friendship and growing old that someone has asked the author. I get asked such questions quite often by young people who are amazed at the length of some of my friendships and how I can keep in touch with so many of them even now. They also wonder how oldies like us can still be playfully friendly. I have saved this writing to use to reply to such queries that are sure to continue to be addressed to me. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did and do.

I am truly grateful to Sudesh for sending me this and to whoever is the author for this magnificent piece of writing that I wish I had the talent to write.

“I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant- garde on my patio.

I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love … I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken!
How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car?

But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs
be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.
So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive.

You care less about what other people think.

I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old.

It has set me free. I like the person I have become.

I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.

And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).



Marriage, Sugar Daddies, Mommies And Other Possibilities.

An interesting title for an article in the New York Times, ‘Keeping Up With Being Kept’, intrigued me and I went to the net edition to read it and found it quite ineteresting. I am sure that this post will receive some interesting comments from some of my stalwart readers!

Before one or more ask me my take on it, let me straight away disabuse any thought of becoming a sugar daddy soon, and also assure my readers, that even in my younger days, I never could have afforded to be one either. And now in my last lap, it is purely of academic interest.

I however come from a background, where many elders of the community established their status within the community by the number of mistresses that they kept. While drinking alcohol was totally taboo, chewing perfumed tobacco and keeping mistresses was accepted as normal behaviour, provided one could afford it. Today, it is not common, but I suppose that it is more covert than overt. It is all a matter of supply and demand, I am told.

Oddly enough, I was reminded of a famous quotation from Oscar Wilde when I read another news item in our local news paper about a wife killing her husband when she found out that he had married another woman. The quote is “Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is also the same.” This led me to wonder if the bigamy is applicable only when a man marries more than once when a wife already exists or whether it is applicable to both sexes. I am told on excellent authority, confirmed by a perusal of the dictionary, that this is applicable to both the sexes. My excellent authority, Padmini, a lady of much fire, further went on to elaborate that it is a typical male doubt. Men do not expect women to be up to such shenanigans. She did not stop at that and said, “just look at the Indian situation, there is no equivalent word in any of the Indian languages for a widower!” We have vidhwa for widow, but no equivalent for ‘widower’. This assures me that the root for both English and our Sanskrit word for widow, must be the same. The English must have developed the word widower due to necessity. In the Indian situation, Padmini strongly believes, men have no business being widowers and must quickly get married again! Interesting thought that, though not quite appealing to me just now. I would rather stay with Oscar Wilde’s thought to comfort me. I consulted Grannymar about it and she concurs that the quote should be amended to read as “Bigamy is having one spouse too many. Monogamy is also the same.”

Now, Sugar Mommies, is a different issue altogether. Either I do not move in the right circles, or it is most covert. I have not come across the ‘gigolo’ syndrome yet in my fairly eventful life. I would certainly like some of my younger Indian readers like Sandeep and Ashok as well as our India expert Phil, to throw some light on this aspect. While at it, they may like to throw some light on age restrictions if any too! I am also depending on Grannymar to illuminate us with her usual candour.

I have a feeling that I am heading for some serious trouble with this post, but the topic is too intriguing not to post about.

Colour Bias – II

I refer to my earlier post Colour Bias and also Jim Walton’s post on the same subject. You will see from the posts as well as the comments on both the posts that the problem is quite complex, though I have tried to be light hearted in my responses.

This morning’s Times of India carried an article that will be of interest to all who are interested in the subject. The Indian caste system being equated to racism, while appearing to be rather logical, is likely to lead to more complications in India than would appear at first glance.

Indian politicians have been playing the caste card and affiliations with panache to further their own interests. Simply stated to build vote banks by offering sops to various castes. The single most visible tool used for this nefarious purpose has been the so called affirmative action to further the interests of the so called backward castes, by the simple expedient of reservations of jobs in the government, seats in institutions of learning and even in electoral districts. India must be the only country in the world, where a group of people, incidentally of all hues of coulour, but of the same caste, agitate to be classified by fiat as backward, most backward etc. I would like to be corrected on this observation and invite contrary views.

What this divisions have achieved is dividing the society rather than uniting them into a cohesive whole. It is a straight forward fight for privileges based on a quota system. Politicians of all hues have exploited this division with great success and the most comic of all results has been effected.

The Brahmin caste which was the first to be targeted lost a lot of its influence and importance as a direct result of such policies that were implemented almost immediately after our independence from Britain. Over the last five or so decades they have numerically become among the poorest and have moved into cities to become taxi drivers, petty traders, milk deliverers, construction workers, and, hold your breath, public toilet cleaners and maintainers.

Dalits (translated to mean the oppressed) in the meanwhile were explotiting the opportunities made available to them and were also becoming politically important. While the Brahmins were moving Southward, the Dalits were moving North.

The in-betweens were consolidating their own interests. Almost all atrocities against the lower castes were being carried out by the non Brahmin intermediate castes for their own ECONOMIC reasons. Nothing else was responsible. The upward mobility of the Dalits was galling as they were purchasing property, sending their children to schools, and generally becoming economically important, and this was perceived as being at the cost of the intermediate castes who said, that they would have benefited had the Dalits not been given the support from the powers that were!

The latest political development that is likely to have far reaching consequences is the coming together of the Dalits and the Brahmins who share discrimination at the hands of the intermeidate castes. The political ascendancy of Mayawati, a Dalit leader has been made possible by the two extreme castes in the spectrum, coming together!

Politicians are now running scared with the possible permutations and combinations that will now evolve with the latest development and the Amnesty’s salvos will not help matters any.

In any case, I personally believe that it is inaccurate to equate casteism with racism. It is a superficial assessment of the differences. The issue is far more complex than that and bias based on race simply does not arise.

The solution, in my opinion, and in the opinion of an increasing number of thinking Indians is to do away with all quotas and reservations based on caste, religion and gender and become a truly secular nation. I am told that it is a pipe dream and our political class will never agree to this most sensible idea.

Like I suppose, everywhere, there is political shenanigans taking place to divide people one way or the other. India is no exception. I hope that JW will now give a second look at our situation and offer his own take, having been in India.

Earrings? Try Hearings!

My last post was on men wearing earrings. Here is a typical Indian male, from Rajasthan, wearing earrings.


I should have known better than to think that having posted that picture above, matters will come to rest. I have found something better than earrings – hearings. Have a look!

Why Do Men Wear Earrings?

I do not wear earrings. It is however part of our tradition that both male and female children get their ears pierced when they are small. They are provided with ear studs so that the holes do not get filled up again. When grown up, many males just discard the earrings although, many older people and in some communities, even now with the younger males, wearing ear-studs is quite common and is not looked askance at.

This story which was forwarded to me by a friend however, is in a different league altogether.

“I have often wondered how this trend got started, I now have the answer.

A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring.

This man knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in “fashion sense.”

The man walks up to him and says, “I didn’t know you were into earrings.”

“Don’t make such a big deal, it’s only an earring, “he replies sheepishly.

His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to say, “So, how long have you been wearing one?”

“Ever since my wife found it in my car.”

Any male readers out there who wear earrings/ear-studs?